This is the magic question that almost every developer has come across at some point. There are many opinions out there, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on this issue and hopefully some will find it helpful. For me, I lean on the side of not supporting older browsers, let me explain.
First, as web developers we believe it is our responsibility to keep innovating and help advance the web further every day. If we keep trying to support IE7, IE8, IE9, etc. we will simply slow ourselves down by spending more time trying to make everything compatible and “not break,” instead of spending the time making the web a better place for all. Technology is advancing very fast and we need to advance with it.
There is an argument out there about how you can lose business if you don’t support ALL browsers. From my experience, I politely disagree. Customers who use older browsers often times aren’t the types of customers you want anyways. You’ll hear from them every day about fixing problems because of compatibility issues. It’s much easier to just help them upgrade their browser, and they will thank you later.
Whether it’s a web app or a website, supporting some of these older browsers can add on a huge load of extra code that can reduce the performance for people using newer browsers. A developer’s job is to always make the code efficient, fast and tidy. By supported multiple versions of legacy software it will only get more clunky.
After having said all of this, there is only one time when I will support older browsers and that’s when the client absolutely requires it for some specific reason pertaining directly to their business or audience. Generally, clients are just uninformed, and after some explanation it’s easy to get them to understand. Often times we get thanked for “catching them up” with technology.
Overall, I think everything is heading in the right direction. Even some of the “big guys” like Facebook and Gmail make announcements when they drop support for older browsers. Hey, if they can do it, we can do it.
If you’re not sure if your code is compatible with a certain browser you can check here.